A Minimalist Guide: How to Travel Light & Easy

Photo Credit: Scmp 

Ever had those moments when you have a list of items to pack for your travels but end up packing half of your closet? Nostalgic, isn’t it? That’s because it happens – ALL THE TIME!

But without compromising, here’s how you could travel easier and possibly fit half your closet into one backpack.

Before getting into details, we need to go over some ground rules:

RULE #1: Evaluate your items

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Differentiate needs from wants. Consider usefulness and how often an item will be used throughout your journey, such as your makeup set as opposed to your moisturiser.

Some items serve as better alternatives as well, such as a poncho to an umbrella.

You must also think light and resourceful when packing. A light water bottle is easier to pack and an empty mint box would be useful in carrying important cards, cash, supplements and more.

RULE #2: Laundry

Photo Credit: Wandering Bird

A week’s worth of clothes is enough to last you throughout your travels, BUT,  you must be willing to do laundry, essential to be able to pack like a minimalist.  

RULE #3: Consider multipurpose items

Versatile items come in very handy, hence, highly recommended to pack. Some moisturisers can act as sunscreen while wet tissues are fantastic at cleaning up after sloppy meals or wiping off dust and dirt.

Photo Credit: Manchester Evening News 

If you are unable to sacrifice fashion, stick to the safe white, black and grey coloured shirts as they tend to compliment other coloured clothes well. These 3 rules shall be your mantra before and during packing your bag.

Now that we have set those ground rules, on to the actual packing!

How to pack like a minimalist?

  • Smaller bag
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Many travellers believe opting for a smaller bag would force you to prioritise your items and combat the temptation to pack more.

It’s best to place the bigger and heavier items at the bottom of your bag, leaving space for smaller and lighter items at the top, allowing you to fit them all into your backpack easily.

  • Roll your clothes
Photo Credit: Penny Caravan

Rolling your clothes is a space efficient method of packing and reduces the creases.  

For thick clothes, simply fold the bottom or top part of your shirt or pants by 10cm – 12cm inside out and start rolling it until you reach the end. Finally, wrap the fold around your rolled clothes to form a burrito.

Photo Credit: ING

If you tend to plan your attire, align your shirt atop your pants followed by placing your socks and underwear on top of your shirt and repeat the process.

  • Two pairs of footwear
Photo Credit: Food Fun Travel

Two pairs of footwear should suffice throughout your travels but must be based on your itinerary. You only need one to wear and another to carry. Jogging shoes are the best as they can be worn for multiple occasions.

Another neat trick is to stuff your belt, socks or underwear into your shoes so they won’t occupy space in your backpack.

  • Toiletries
Photo Credit: Travel Fashion Girl

Hotels generally provide shampoo, body wash, towels, toothbrush and toothpaste, but for precautionary measures, it won’t hurt to call and clarify. Unfortunately, dorms and hostels don’t provide them, hence you would have to bring your own.

Photo Credit: Map Happy 

To travel lighter, pour your shampoo and body wash into small bottles and wrap them with plastic wrap before tightening the bottle cover to prevent leakages.

Photo Credit: Hiamag

You can also squeeze your moisturiser and makeup inside your contact lens case instead of bringing the whole bottle along with you. Simply ensure that your efforts for a lighter travel will be sufficient throughout your journey.

Example of Minimalist Packing (for a week travel)

  • Jeans / pants (depending on itinerary) x2
  • Comfortable walking shoes x1
  • Sandal, sneakers or hiking boots x1
  • Layereable top (long sleeve shirt, t-shirt etc) x3
  • Heavier top (sweater, jacket, etc.) x1
  • Underwear x 5 pairs (laundry)  
  • Socks x 2 pairs
  • Sleeping clothes (top and bottom) x1


Happy travels! 😁

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